Not currently on display at the V&A

Drawing

ca. 1993 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Patrick Cullen had beena pupil of the poet and scholar Walter Strachan (1903-1994) at Bishop's Stortford College in the 1940s. He presented this owl to Strachan at a lunch for former pupils, to mark Strachan's 90th birthday in January 1993.

Strachan was fascinated by the art of the book. His interest was inspired by a visit to an exhibition of artists’ books at the National Gallery in London in May 1945. In due course he wrote many articles on the subject, as well as a major reference work, The Artist and the Book in France (published 1969); he also encouraged successive Keepers of the National Art Library at the V&A “to buy them for England.” To this end he visited France every year, to meet the artists, and acquired proof pages to illustrate his articles and to show to potential purchasers of the books, including the V&A. Over the years he amassed a collection of images of owls; some of these were illustrations from livres d’artistes, and others were designed especially for him as gifts or greetings. The collection of owls began with a visit to the artist Roger Chastel (1897-1981) in 1952, where he witnessed the printing of Le Bestiaire de Paul Eluard. In a subsequent article (“Genesis and Growth of a Collection”, for Connoisseur, 1972) he explained: “My article on Chastel’s Bestiaire had the happy result of bringing me a special print on Auvergne paper of the owl which I had admired in the book. Contacts in the art-world of Paris are close and friendly, and I was marked down as an owl-man, in consequence of which I have gradually been given dedicated owl prints and originals in every medium from pen and ink to enamel…”


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pen on paper
Brief Description
Calligraphed drawing, owl formed from poetry, by Pierre Lecuire, 1993.
Physical Description
Calligraphy in ink on paper of extracts of poetry in English, French and German. These are written to form the image of an owl.
Dimensions
  • Height: 41.2cm
  • Width: 29.6cm
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'for Walter / on the occasion of his / 90th Birthday' (Inscribed in ink, across top left corner / top centre / across top right corner.)
  • 'Well remembered Lines from a Personal Anthology inspired by W.J.S.' (Inscribed in ink in an arc above the owl's head.)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Walter Strachan
Object history
90th birthday greeting from Pierre Lecuire toWalter Strachan (1903-1994). This forms part of a collection of prints, drawings and paintings of owls bequeathed to the V&A by Walter Strachan. Strachan, a scholar and collector of Livres d'Artistes, became friendly with a large number of artists, who, on hearing that he had a fondness for owls, began sending him images to add to his collection.
Production
Reason For Production: Private
Subjects depicted
Summary
Patrick Cullen had beena pupil of the poet and scholar Walter Strachan (1903-1994) at Bishop's Stortford College in the 1940s. He presented this owl to Strachan at a lunch for former pupils, to mark Strachan's 90th birthday in January 1993.



Strachan was fascinated by the art of the book. His interest was inspired by a visit to an exhibition of artists’ books at the National Gallery in London in May 1945. In due course he wrote many articles on the subject, as well as a major reference work, The Artist and the Book in France (published 1969); he also encouraged successive Keepers of the National Art Library at the V&A “to buy them for England.” To this end he visited France every year, to meet the artists, and acquired proof pages to illustrate his articles and to show to potential purchasers of the books, including the V&A. Over the years he amassed a collection of images of owls; some of these were illustrations from livres d’artistes, and others were designed especially for him as gifts or greetings. The collection of owls began with a visit to the artist Roger Chastel (1897-1981) in 1952, where he witnessed the printing of Le Bestiaire de Paul Eluard. In a subsequent article (“Genesis and Growth of a Collection”, for Connoisseur, 1972) he explained: “My article on Chastel’s Bestiaire had the happy result of bringing me a special print on Auvergne paper of the owl which I had admired in the book. Contacts in the art-world of Paris are close and friendly, and I was marked down as an owl-man, in consequence of which I have gradually been given dedicated owl prints and originals in every medium from pen and ink to enamel…”
Collection
Accession Number
E.273-1994

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record createdSeptember 22, 2005
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